DotaBlast met Kim “QO” Seon-yeop for an interview in Croatia, during the Dota Pit LAN Finals. QO talked about his road to 9K MMR and MVP’s good shape despite their lack of scrimming partners, mentioned how he put his dream of getting a doctorate on hold in order to pursue a career in gaming, and looked back on how he got introduced to Dota 2 by “a guy from church”.
MVP.QO interview: VIDEO
MVP.QO interview: TRANSCRIPT
DotaBlast: Hi, how’s it going?
MVP.QO: It’s alright, we actually made it, so we think we can make it into the finals.
DotaBlast: That’s right, you made it. We’re in the first day of the Dota Pit playoffs and you’ve just taken down OG.
MVP.QO: Yes. OG is a really strong moment team – Miracle- and the rest of them – they have very good supports. Maybe they were unprepared, that’s how I felt, except for the second game. In the second game, I think we just got out-drafted.
DotaBlast: They haven’t really had great performances at the Shanghai Major. On the other hand, you’re in a very good place right now. What’s your secret?
MVP.QO: Just practice well and play ranked games.
DotaBlast: You’ve gone through a couple of roster changes in the past year, you’ve done pretty well before The International, but then didn’t manage to qualify for the Frankfurt Major. You came strong at the Shanghai Major and everyone thought that was a fluke.
MVP.QO: Yes. It’s reasonable because we didn’t have consistent performances, we sometimes won, we sometimes lost. This tournament proves that we now have a solid play-style and we can aim for the finals.
Our team is highly based on individual skill. Our players read skills well, they foresee the next movements. Those kinds of things help the drafting. Whatever you draft, a skilled player can play anything.
DotaBlast: How would you explain that? What changed?
MVP.QO: Our team is highly based on individual skill. Our players read skills well, they foresee the next movements. Those kinds of things help the drafting. Whatever you draft, a skilled player can play anything.
DotaBlast: You once said that your biggest issues within the team are communication and a weak hero pool. Would you say you improved on those aspects?
MVP.QO: Weak hero pool? Yes, I think we had a weak hero pool. I think now we still have kind of a limited pool, but I think we can make it one by one. We’re a solid team. What was the other thing?
DotaBlast: Low communication within the team – that’s what you said a couple of months ago.
MVP.QO: Low communication, yeah. I think now we have a lot of communication, we can work as a team faster and move as a team faster. We can read the map better through communication, I feel.
DotaBlast: You’ve really improved lately and you’ve done so without really scrimming against any Western teams, which is impressive. Am I right?
MVP.QO: Yes, we can’t scrim against Western teams because of the ping.
DotaBlast: Who are you scrimming against?
MVP.QO: We normally scrim in SEA or China, but we didn’t scrim that much. We basically try to scrim Chinese teams, because they have a better system, but they were away for New Year’s and we just wait for them and focus our time on ranked games.
Ranked games actually helped us a lot. They improved our individual skill, so I think that’s why we are so good.
DotaBlast: You’re basically saying not scrimming is better for you, because you’ve improved your game a lot.
MVP.QO: Ranked games actually helped us a lot. (laughs) They improved our individual skill, so I think that’s why we are so good.
DotaBlast: You’re trying to reach 9K MMR, right? How’s it going?
MVP.QO: Chinese ranked is way too hard and I just came to Europe and I had a six-win streak, so I think I can reach 9K in Europe, maybe.
Every time I come to Europe, I always gain like 200-300 MMR. I think I never lost when I came to Europe. (…) I think Europe may have some kind of higher skill, more creative skills. They want to fight beautifully. Chinese aim for more efficiency in the game, they focus more on every chance and they take it.
DotaBlast: That’s funny, because w33 said that when he was in China for the Shanghai Major he played some ranked games and basically the conclusion he drew from them is the exact opposite of what you’re telling me. He said that they’re a lot easier than the ones in Europe.
MVP.QO: Maybe it’s different for every player, but every time I come to Europe, I always gain like 200-300 MMR. I think I never lost when I came to Europe. And so have my teammates. I think it’s more about the tryhards, how tryhard the players are, and I think Europe may have some kind of higher skill, more creative skills. They want to fight beautifully. Chinese aim for more efficiency in the game, they focus more on every chance and they take it. Europe is more like trying to delay the game and aim for better shows, better views. I think it’s a different kind of style, but I definitely gain MMR when I come to Europe.
DotaBlast: You should relocate to Europe.
MVP.QO: Yeah, I hope so!
DotaBlast: You hope so? Are you planning on doing that?
MVP.QO: No, I’ll still stay in Korea. It’s my home. Maybe sometimes for bootcamps or just tournaments.
DotaBlast: How’s the Korean scene right now?
MVP.QO: The Korean scene is dead. Nexon is out and there are only like a few thousand people who play Dota. I think if you just play well and win something high prized, then the press will ask for interviews, and maybe that’s a chance for growth of the Dota scene.
DotaBlast: I know you were born in Korea but you moved to Australia, in the seventh grade. And then you stayed there for about eight years.
MVP.QO: Yes, I went to University for the first year and then half of a semester and then came to Korea, because of March.
I studied Science and I was planning to go for the Doctorate, but I can’t do it anymore, it’s too late.
DotaBlast: What did you study?
MVP.QO: I studied Science and I was planning to go for the Doctorate, but I can’t do it anymore, it’s too late. I’ll still try to graduate.
DotaBlast: What’s your exit strategy out of Dota?
MVP.QO: I don’t know, I haven’t planned it. All I’m focusing on is I aim for top tier 1 Dota.
DotaBlast: You’re just going with the flow.
MVP.QO: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DotaBlast: So, what about your expectations for the Manila Major and maybe even TI, why not?
MVP.QO: Both of them first place. Both of them first place.
DotaBlast: I know a guy from your church was the one who introduced you to Dota.
MVP.QO: Wow, how do you know all this information?
DotaBlast: Well, I researched you. So, tell us the story!
MVP.QO: Well, basically, I was at church. Then after church, you know how people play soccer or hang around? Half of us played soccer and half of us went to Internet cafes. An older brother taught me how to play Dota. He picked Lion in the first game. I don’t remember what I picked, but I remember he just killed me at level 6. I was really mad at him. You know how Lion has a Finger of Death which has like really high damage? He killed me once and he bought Dagon. In DotA 1, Dagon and Finger of Death had the same animation. I was like: “Dude, bro, you’re cheating!” I was so mad.
DotaBlast: Are you still in touch with the guy?
MVP.QO: Not anymore.
DotaBlast: Do you think he’s proud of you now? Do you think he watches your games?
MVP.QO: I don’t know, maybe, maybe. I’m not too sure. I don’t contact him.
DotaBlast: You should get in touch with him and thank him, maybe.
MVP.QO: Why did you bring me into Dota? I might have gotten into League of Legends or studied instead.
DotaBlast: How do you stay motivated? Learning Dota is a traumatizing experience, at first.
MVP.QO: I played League of Legends and many different games, but I think Dota is a deep depth game. You have to think harder. LoL is basically based more on player skills, that’s how I feel. In Dota you have to think about more things, like how to rat, or how to… There are so many styles, so I think it’s more complicated.
DotaBlast: You’ve played League of Legends?
MVP.QO: Yeah, I was gold.
I played LoL when the game was one year old, but it seemed like LoL was kind of boring. Dota has all these blink skills, you can blink like every time. I like to roam around on the map.
DotaBlast: Why did you go for Dota instead? Why choose the more difficult path?
MVP.QO: I played LoL when the game was one year old, but it seemed like LoL was kind of boring. Dota has all these blink skills, you can blink like every time. I like to roam around on the map. In LoL, the blink – the flash, is 300 seconds, so I didn’t like it. That’s the only spell – the flash, by which the player can blink in. In Dota it’s like 12 seconds, so you can blink every 12 seconds, that’s what I like.
DotaBlast: Do you play other games casually?
MVP.QO: Sometimes CS:GO. CS:GO changed, so I can’t play competitively anymore. I have to reach rank 3 in order to play, so I sometimes just play death match and only shoot people.
DotaBlast: You once said that you convinced your parents it was a good idea to drop out of University and move to Korea to play Dota competitively by mentioning the TI prize pool.
MVP.QO: Yes, but I didn’t really tell them that this way would be better. I just wanted to enjoy life. It’s my life and I kind of wanted to play, I though I could go higher.
DotaBlast: Are they supportive?
MVP.QO: That time they weren’t, but now they’re half-half.
DotaBlast: Do they watch your games?
MVP.QO: Yes, my dad watches my games.
DotaBlast: Does he understand the game or he just roots for you no matter what?
MVP.QO: He roots for me.
DotaBlast: Thank you so much for your time. Any shoutouts?
MVP.QO: I like all the Aussie people. There’s a guy called Heelix, MooMoo, Maystar (unintelligible nickname). Those guys were my favorites when I played Dota 1. I think I can go to Australia again and give you guys some high-fives.
DotaBlast: And to the guy from church who taught you Dota.
MVP.QO: I think I can beat your Lion now! I can play Techies and beat you!